June 12, 2015

1657 ITALY (Tuscany) - La Palazzina dei Mulini in Elba

Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, at about 50km east of the French island of Corsica and 20km from the coastal town of Piombino, Elba is the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy, after Sicily and Sardinia. There are more than 130 beaches on the island, and some noteworthy places to visit, such as bastions of the Medici, fortress Volterrayo, Villa Romana delle Grotte or mountain Monte Capanne, but the most important are, without the slightest doubt, the two residence occupied by Napoleon in Portoferraio by Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile on the island: La Palazzina dei Mulini (the Palace of the Mills), and Villa San Martino.

Following the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Napoleon I was exiled to Elba after his forced abdication in 1814 and arrived at Portoferraio on May 30, 1814. He was allowed to keep a personal guard of six hundred men. Although he was nominally sovereign of Elba, the island was patrolled by the British Royal Navy. During the 300 days spend on the island, Napoleon carried out a series of economic and social reforms to improve the quality of life. He returned to France on February 26, 1815 for the Hundred Days. After his defeat at Waterloo he was subsequently exiled again, this time to the barren and isolated South Atlantic island of Saint Helena..

Today the Palazzina dei Mulini, once the official residence of Napoleon, is a National Museum. Built in 1724 by the Grand Duke Gian Gastone de'Medici, the original building wasn't what it's like now, because Napoleon had some alterations done by the Livorno architect Paolo Bargigli to suit his own needs better: the central part that connected the two original buildings was made higher so he could have a ball room. The original furniture, that Napoleon had brought from his residence in Piombino by his sister Elisa Baciochi, no longer exists. Meticulous work done on the two residences with the addition of beautiful 19th century Imperial style furniture has brought the true Imperial atmosphere back to life.

The library, on the other hand, still has the most important Napoleonic material: the books that the Emperor brought with him from Fontainebleau and those his uncle, Cardinal Fesch, gave to him. In the garden lying between the building and the sea there are two statues: one of Minerva dating back to ancient Greece, the other a copy of the Galatea of the Canova (they say Paolina Borghese posed for it), while the original is in the Demidoff Gallery in San Martino.

About the stamp I wrote here.

Elba - Wikipedia
National Museum of the Villa dei Mulini in Portoferraio - Info Elba

Sender: Ana
Sent from Florence (Tuscany / Italy), on 30.05.2014

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